'Cristiano Ronaldo is a goal animal' – Simeone worried about facing Juventus star

The Atletico Madrid coach is fearful of the damage the Portuguese superstar could do to his side, having been knocked out by him last season

Diego Simeone has described Cristiano Ronaldo as a ‘goal animal’ ahead of Atletico Madrid’s meeting with Juventus in the Champions League.

The pair met in the round of 16 last season as Juventus overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first leg by winning 3-0 in Turin, courtesy of a hat-trick from Ronaldo.

And Simeone is well aware of the perils of underestimating an adversary he has faced many times in La Liga, when the Portuguese superstar wore the white of Atletico’s city rivals Real Madrid.

“It’s difficult to get ready to face a player like Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s a goal animal,” Simeone said in his pre-match press conference.

“He has awesome figures and he makes sure everyone knows what’s happening around the box.

“It’s difficult to control that. He has great skills with his head, with his shooting, making passes, running into space – what can I say about his skill? We’ve already suffered against him, sometimes we’ve won and sometimes we’ve lost.

“It’s clear he’s a goal animal.”

Ronaldo boasts a phenomenal scoring record against Atletico, having notched 25 times against them across his career from just 33 meetings.

He has managed seven goals from eight games in the Champions League, 12 from 16 matches in La Liga, and six from just seven Copa del Rey clashes.

The only club Ronaldo has scored more goals against is another Spanish outfit in Sevilla, with the 34-year-old having racked up a whopping 27 goals from just 18 appearances against a side who will have been glad to see him move to Italy.

Simeone’s side will be keen to avoid taking Sevilla’s place in Ronaldo’s personal scoring records, however, as they look to progress from a Champions League group also containing Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Atletico had topped the fledgling Liga table until a disappointing 2-0 defeat away to Real Sociedad, who ended their perfect start and allowed Sevilla to leapfrog them at the summit of the league.

Juventus also dropped points in the build-up to their first European fixture, slumping to a 0-0 draw with Fiorentina and falling two points behind Inter in Serie A.

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